My journey with Gratitude started in December 2020, we had all been through unprecedented times and the restrictions on our lives, allowed me time for reflection and I started to learn what is truly important in life.
I had never volunteered before… job, kids, life and I didn’t think I would be very useful. How wrong was I, Sheila and John are amazing at finding jobs for everyone! ‘Anyone good with a computer?’, ‘We have a shed we knocked down that needs to be cleared!’, ‘Can someone go outside with the collection box!’, ‘Anyone good at writing articles for our website?’, ‘Can anyone drive a van?’ …. Everyone has limits!
If a group of builders, creatives or gardeners new to the area join the queue, John is out there assessing their skills and finding meaningful jobs for them to do around the hub. It really is a hive of activity.
Together with their ever-growing management team, Sheila and John have truly built a community of volunteers who work for the good of all.
In February this year, having built my own online community, I decided to formulate a plan that turned into a project that turned into one of the best nights of my life!
In 2014 I created a Facebook group for members of the Jewish Community organising Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
There didn’t seem to be a place for people to go to find an outfit, venue, DJ, caterer and all the bits in between. So “Top Tips for Barmitzvah and Bat Mitzvah mums and dads” was born.
After 8 years and 8,300 members, my co-admin Jo and I have built the go-to place for organising a function.
Unfortunately, my 50th Birthday was during the lockdown, and my planned holiday with the family was cancelled. So this year, I decided I wanted to celebrate in style! I was not prepared to wait till 60 to have a party!
So I posted a request for support from the service providers of the Facebook group. For me, it’s not about the presents, it’s about the preparation, organisation and especially, making the memories with people I care about.
In return for the service providers offering up their time or products, I decided to support charities close to my heart.
Naturally, I chose Gratitude, working closely with Sheila and John, I know how much they need every penny and how they turn every penny into a pound.
All the people supporting the event were on board, asking me for logos and offering raffle prizes to make the evening more unique.
The party was held on Saturday 14th May in a newly opened venue in Temple Fortune, there was a DJ, together with an incredible laser show, projecting the Gratitude logo. The hall was decorated with blossom trees and balloons and desserts were kindly donated from members of the community.
Memories were captured on the selfie camera and shared using the Gratitude logo! There was a personalised Gratitude Post a Pressie post box now sitting proudly in the hub! Memories were made in the photo booth and everyone celebrated on the dance floor!
Sheila and John enjoyed the vegan buffet followed by fresh fruit kebabs and vegan sweets! It was a chance to socialise with other volunteers and celebrate all the good the charity has achieved.
The evening was a great success with many guests going home with an amazing raffle prize also donated by the Facebook community!
I have raised nearly £800 for Gratitude and raised awareness of the amazing work of this community.Carolyne Klein
I had the best birthday and enjoyed making special memories with those I care about.
I have supported small businesses in my Facebook community (who have not had it easy the past few years) and I have enjoyed the spreadsheets, phone calls and during the preparations we even recorded a promo video interview!
It’s been a fantastic journey and I’m so glad my volunteer friends were able to join us in our celebrations.
Life is about making memories, supporting each other and making use of everyone’s talents. Gratitude has taught me that.
Volunteering with this amazing charity has opened my eyes to what I have; compassion, stability, health, strength, friends, kindness, love and the love of helping others.
Thank you to everyone who supported my function and hopefully the power of Facebook has expanded the reach of Gratitude and all that can be achieved when we work together.
I truly believe if you give you get so much more in return and recommend volunteering to all.
I look forward to watching the video, reminiscing through the photos and feeling accomplished having raised awareness of Gratitude within the community.
Thank you to the ‘Sorting Office‘ for donating the use of the event’s venue, staff and catering. Decorated by the Flower and Balloon room.
DJ – The Hit Squad, Laser show – Vision Light Events, photo booth – Partito Events, The Selfie Roamer, Robert Campbell – CCS video, Talia Gottachalk – 1000 words Photography.
Thank you to ‘Pentland‘ for match funding the event’s donations to Gratitude.
Thank you to ‘Simply Scrumptious‘ for lovely fruit kebabs! Together with treats donated by Minimelts, Kosher Candy King, Chocolate Brownie Boards, Oh Crumbs Cake Couture.
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Story by Carolyne Klein